Rider & photographer Andrey Yenin reports on his travels to an incredible country for mountainboarding…
After returning from The World Boardercross Championships in Serbia, where I first met the Brazilian mountainboard pioneer Tony Dogga, I realized I could afford to make one more big trip this year. So with my last money I bought tickets to Brazil… and it was totally worth it.
It was the end of October when my plane landed in Rio de Janeiro. While in most European countries the riding season came to the end, in Brazil it was late spring.
However that doesn’t mean everyone just starts shredding – they have very different seasons of weather depending on the region, and all stages of the Brazilian mountainboard circuit are planned upon this peculiarity.
Brazil has no national all terrain board federation, but in every big state where mountainboarding is popular there is a regional federation. Rio’s AMERJ (Associacao de Mountainboard do Estado do Rio de Janeiro) is one of the biggest in the country.
On the first day I went to the birth place of South American mountainboarding – Local Trip mountainboard park which is located far away from civilization in Visconde de Maua village, 2.5 hours by car from Rio de Janeiro. This park was established in 1997 by Paulo Solon. He started from surfing in the 70’s and switched to mountainboarding in the early 90’s. Now he maintains not only one of the oldest landscape parks in the world, but also produces homemade boards with individually shaped decks.
That’s a rare place where you can feel the vibes of true mountainboarding.
Contemporary Local Trip mountainboard park occupies a large area divided by a creek. The first side contains all the dwellings and a slopestyle course with little jumps, wallride and wide quarterpipe. On the other side you can find a boardercross track with an interesting bunch of ‘S’ turns and the dirt jump for big air which has the perfect form.
During my short stay in Maua I had the pleasure of riding with the best Brazilian freestyle rider, Thiago Solon. He is a seven-time national champion and has an unbelievable style. He does such difficult tricks like corked 540’s and frontside & backside 720’s perfectly.
People in Europe don’t actually realize what’s going on in Brazil, because what can be found on the internet is only a small particle of a big deal…
The following weekend, I was a guest in the Thrilias do Olimpo Mountain Park near Itaipava (district of Petropolis city inside Rio state). It’s a young mountainboard & mountainbike park in Brazil, but already very well-known. Last year it was visited by Renny Myles and after his stay much has been changed; for example, the big air was completely rebuilt.
The main course was built on the steep slope and because of this it is completely insane and extremely speedy, maybe twice as fast and much better shaped than the famous track in Serbia where the World Boardercoss Championship was held this September.
The whole of Thrilias do Olimpo is devoted to the perfect spending of a mountainboard holiday, because the host Monique Botelho is so enormously friendly. She provides a hospitable guesthouse, and besides the professional mountainboard track there is also a nice track for beginners, a slopestyle section and a pump track.
During my days in Olimpo I had an opportunity to ride with local mountainboarders including Lucas Melo (sponsored by Enjoy The Ride and Wizard English school) and cool girl Emilia Melo.
On the weekend, Fernando Gazzola joined us to ride some freeride trails. He does a big job in public relations & media coverage of the sport – the article about my visit ‘Brazilian parks’ was published even before I left the country! The main public TV channels and radio programs do reports about significant mountainboard events and “OFF” channel broadcasted a reality show about mountainboarding last year (links at the bottom of the page).
Within six hours of Rio there are two more big mountainboard spots (in Sao Paulo state): Vinhedo and Sao Jose dos Campos, but unfortunately I had no time to take a look at them because I decided to spend the second week of my trip in South Brazil.
Before going there I knew nothing about the Brazilian mountainboard scene and so I was a little bit confused to find out that guys from the South West (Rio & Sao Paulo) think that riders from further South are odd, and in turn South Brazilians (Porto Alegre) think that northerners sabotage their competitions, ha-ha.
Anyway, in Porto Alegre I was warmly welcomed by internet celebrity Tony Dogga. He is a good fellow, but for some unknown reason he is only interested in the international mountainboard scene. According to this, he doesn’t seem to appreciate that for many people in his own country mountainboarding has become a real sport not a hobby, but he still represents Brazil in his own way without the showcase of parks, top riders and massive competitions.
The first park in the South that I was recommended to visit was Cabure. It was built in 2005 and now operates as a private park of it’s owner Lucas Py Becker. Tom Kirkman has been there a few times on Latin American open competitions.
Talking about the track, it has enough width for 4-Cross races and with the smoothest turns it is fit for riders of any level. The most specific part of it is the wooden banked turn. Unfortunately, due to controversies with the local community this track is ignored by a majority of riders and only a few people occasionally ride there. In the past, South Brazilians had a respectable leader, Marcio DaGuedes, but last year he moved to Florida (USA) and it seems things went a bit wrong without him; for example, I’d been prohibited to visit King Kong mountainboard Park just because it’s owner Alex Lampada doesn’t want to see any foreigners in his territory. Weird. Anyway…
The last mountainboarder who I was keen to meet was Marco Rothmann, and friends. These extremely joyful and funny folk showed me Swell’s mountainboard track. It is now a totally abandoned place without any real shape, but all the curves were still in rideable condition, even after a terrible tropical storm that had raged for two days previous. It felt like I was the first person who rode there in a year!
I regret that I didn’t meet many local riders, only Jards GoldBlack who has to work all day long and Marco who only expects to be back on board next season, but thanks to Tony Dogga, and everyone who made me so welcome.
Lastly, I can guarantee that Brazil is a great place to visit, to ride, and has all the potential to hold any world championship competitions in the future!
AMERJ (Mountainboard Association- Rio area):
Local Trip Mountainboards (Community & Mountainboard Centre):
Local Trip Facebook page:
Trilhas do Olimpo (Board & Bike Park)
Trilhas do Olimpo Facebook page:
TV: MOUNTAINBOARD PROGRAM: Seasons 1+2, over 13 episodes! on Canal OFF Channel
Cabure Mountainboard Park: Facebook Page
In the news! Texts in Portuguese*:
1. Andrey’s visit reaches ‘South Coast & Green’ news website:
2. Report on Andrey’s visit to the Itaipava mountains on ‘Tribuna de Petropolis’ news site:
3. ‘Enjoy the Ride’, Brazil Blog write-up by Lucas Melo:
4. ‘Mountainboard Sul’ Photos of Andrey’s visit from Tony Dogga:
* Copy and paste URL here to Google Translate the page
All images copyright Andrey Yenin 2013, except:
See the whole album of photos by Matheus Botelho on Facebook: “Churras Session @ Trilhas do Olimpo“
Thanks all! kkkkkkkkkkkkkkk!!!!!!!!!!!!